What you didn’t know about Ladybugs

(ORDO NEWS) — Ladybugs are familiar and beloved creatures from the life of our gardens, but there is more to them than cuteness. Take another look at these insects on your windowsills.

1. Ladybugs are named after the Virgin Mary

There are both male and female ladybugs, so why are they called “lady bugs” in English? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, they are named after one particular woman: the Virgin Mary.

One of the most common European ladybugs is the seven-spotted ladybug, and its seven markings are supposedly reminiscent of the seven sorrows of the Virgin Mary. The Germans even call these insects Marienkäfers, or Mary beetles.

2. Some people call ladybugs birds, bishops and cows

In some parts of England, for unclear reasons, a ladybug is called a bishop. There are plenty of local variants of this name, including the amazing “bishy-bishy-barnabee” (bishy bishy barnabee). Most people in England now use the name lady bug, perhaps because these insects can fly.

In several languages, the burly spotted ladybug is affectionately referred to as the little cow. For example, the French sometimes use the term vache √† Dieu, which means “God’s cow”.

What You Didnt Know About Ladybugs 2

3. Ladybugs come in all colors of the rainbow

You’ve probably seen red ladybugs with black spots, but members of the ladybug family come in a wide range of shades, from ash gray to dull brown and metallic blue.

Their patterns vary too – some have stripes, some have squiggles, and some have no pattern at all. Among spotted ladybugs, the number of spots varies. On the other hand, the yellow twenty-two-pointed ladybug has (believe it) 22.

And some ladybugs just like to complicate things. A harlequin ladybug can be yellow, red, black, and almost any color combination, and has any number of spots, from zero to 22.

4. These colors are warning signs

If you are an animal, one of the ways to not get eaten is to be toxic or just taste bad. Many animals produce chemicals that make them inedible and disgusting, and they warn predators of their disgust with bright colors like a stop sign or yellow warning tape.

Striped skunks, for example, emit a powerful stinky spray, and their black and white pattern serves as a warning sign. Similarly, species of ladybugs with bright colors are walking billboards that say, “Don’t eat me. I will infect you.” And that’s because…

5. …Ladybugs defend themselves with poisonous chemicals

Don’t panic: ladybugs won’t hurt you unless you eat them by the kilo (or in the rare case that you’re allergic to them).

But many ladybugs produce toxins that make them inaccessible to birds and other potential predators. These harmful substances are associated with the coloring of the ladybug – the brighter the ladybug, the stronger the toxins.

6. Ladybugs Survive Winter As Adults

We associate adult ladybugs with bright summer days, but they are there even in the dead of winter. They enter a dormant state and huddle in groups, often in logs or under leaves.

One species, the harlequin ladybug, keeps us warm as it enters our homes. These insects gather in huge numbers and settle in the dark crevices of the house. On unseasonably warm days, they wake up and roam our rooms.

Luckily, these insects don’t eat our food or gnaw on our furniture. But they release a poisonous protective liquid that can stain light-colored surfaces. In addition, they, as already mentioned, can sometimes cause allergies.

7. Mostly Voracious Predators

Ladybugs are loved by everyone, and one of the reasons for this is that they are a natural (and adorable) form of pest control.

They eat parasites such as aphids, scale insects and mealybugs and have a huge appetite: one ladybug can eat 5,000 aphids in her lifetime.

But many ladybugs supplement their diet with pollen and other plant foods. Some feed exclusively on vegetation and fungi. An orange ladybug, for example, chews on mold.

8. They can ruin your wine

Thanks to harlequin ladybugs, vintners face a new and strange problem: ladybug infestations.

Many vineyards are located next to fields of other crops such as soybeans. Ladybugs readily eat the aphids that infest these crops, but once the crop is harvested, the insects need a new place to hang out. Some of them roam the vineyards and crawl through the grapes.

But here comes the harvest. Insects are accidentally picked up by bunches of grapes, and when frightened, ladybugs secrete a smelly, protective liquid. The resulting wine has a special nasty taste, which is compared with peanuts or asparagus. Well, your health!

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